Workers of various government schemes like Anganwadi, Asha, mid-day meals, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Ancilliary Nurse Midwife program (ANM), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), Sakshar Bharath and Indira Kranthi Patham (IKP) are organising to escalate their struggle for being recognised as workers. Government deploys them in for implementing its schemes (therefore the name scheme workers). For example, Anganwadi workers are deployed in pulse polio, ration card and census schemes of Central and State governments. They are also responsible for taking care of health of mother and child in their areas. Often they have to work long hours and travel long distances. Yet, they are not paid overtime or reimbursed for expenses for work related travel.
Scheme workers are not treated as regular employees. They are not even paid minimum wages and there is no enhancement of their salary. The election manifesto of BJP in 2014 had promised to review the working conditions and enhance the remuneration of Anganwadi workers, but it did not fulfil its promise. In the just presented Budget, there is no enhancement in the money allocation for their salaries or facilities.
The scheme workers have been getting organised and protesting to get their voices heard. They are demanding a minimum salary of Rs. 18,000 per month and a pension of Rs. 3000 per month. They organised a huge protest rally in New Delhi last year in February. Since government has done nothing to fulfill their demands, they are now planning to escale their struggle and organise another big protest action to press for their demands.